“Surely they jest!” said I after our Keeper of Purses and Payer of Rents finished reading the letter.
Miss Flood just groaned and sank into her chair, ears drooping. Personally, this one hadn’t seen her this saddened since she had to give up a weekly spot at Fracture.
Martien just looked grim. “Unfortunately they seem to be deadly serious. I’ve examined this letter quite a bit. This isn’t some scrivener writing up the ravings of some, ah, dockhead – these ‘Concerned Residents’ seem to be well-educated, and possibly well connected.”
“We’re not moving [i]again[/i],” Miss Flood snarled, “It was bad enough leaving Caledon for here -“
“No,” Martien said firmly, “We aren’t going to move…”
He got up and walked briskly across what should have been the factory floor. And would have been, if his supplier had been honourable. Miss Flood and I watched him stride to the curtain wall that supported the Bombastophone – look back at us? No, at the support pillar beside us – look to the south wall – stride into the hall of steam and engines – and finally back to us.
“We are going,” the elder statesman of our team declared, “to [i]rotate.[/i]”
Miss Flood looked bewildered. I just nodded.
“The distance between that curtain wall,” I explained to her, “and this pillar,” I rapped the architectural feature in question, “is the same as that between curtain wall – and the southern one.”
“So,” Martien said in turn, “All we need to do is temporarily dismantle everything, swap the sides around… and bolt it all back together!”
“Oh!” Miss Flood could see it now. “And since our wonderful machine now aims seawards, the neighbours won’t complain!”
“Not to mention there will be a lovely sea view as well,” Martien added, brandishing his two most terrifying tools of creation: his pen and clipboard. “I have some ideas for improving the machine’s chamber, you see…”
O reader! Need I say I shuddered with dread at the sparkle in his eyes?